Old Model Kits

Airplane, Ship, Armor, Space, Automotive and Hard to Find Model Kits

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About the Kits


Unless otherwise specified, old kits are guaranteed to be originals and NOT reissues or reproductions. This applies to all parts, decals, instructions and boxes. Exceptions will be noted in the item details. NOTE: Many of these kits are up to 50 years old and may have minor flaws although complete. Many kits had slight damage due to shipping or small short shots when they were new.

All kits are either factory sealed, have factory sealed bags or have not been started and are inventoried complete unless otherwise noted. This means that all parts, decals, and instructions are present. Original glue, paint and paint brushes or other accessories that came with some kits are NOT present unless specifically noted.

NOTE: If you plan on building your older kit or even a kit from the 1980s, please be aware that old decals may NOT work well. Be prepared to scan them and make your own copy or ask you local hobby shop or printer to help you copy them.

Kit listings have information in this order:

{Scale} {Kit# -when available} {Kit Description}
{Box or Header Condition Code
-mainly older kits} {Material} {Old or New}
{Details}



Box or Header Condition Code

All older, boxed collectable kits have this code and some newer ones as well. If you have two identical kits, and one has a good box and the other a mint box, the mint one will appreciate in value at a much higher rate. The following code is used:

MINT: The box is flawless except for traditional small manufacturing imperfections.
NM (Near Mint): Very minor scuffs, edge wear, creases or tears. There are no serious defects that could detract from the box.
EXC (Excellent): Minor scuffs, edge wear, creasing/bends, small tears, and corner wear. It may have several smaller flaws but no major ones. Many boxes fall into this classification.
VG (Very Good): Very collectible, but has more problems like a price tag tear, a few split corners, some fading, staining, over-spray, creasing from smaller boxes being placed on top, pencil point holes, etc.
Good: Colorful box art but very visible problems like corner splits, tape tears, large creases from stacking, serious edge wear/corner wear, etc. A OK piece, but not likely to rapidly appreciate in value.
Fair: Serious tears, stains, splits, cuts, creasing, obvious writing, etc. In other words, a good builder kit.
Poor: Highly worn with many serious flaws. Not collectible but ideal parts kits or builder material.

One or more "+" signs may be used to designate various degrees of a given condition. For example, a kit may be graded NM++++ if it has only one tiny flaw that keeps it from being mint. On the other hand, a kit with two or three tiny flaws may only be graded NM.


Material

This designates what substance the kit is made of. Many are self-explanatory, but here is a simple introduction to injection molding, vacuforming, resin, wood, and stick and tissue. Some kits contain photoetched metal parts and resin details, so please read the full description before purchasing.

Injection Molded:

Melted plastic is injected at a certain rate, temperature and pressure into a shaped cavity. The plastic cools and is removed from the mold. The "trees" or "sprue" hold the parts in the original molded configuration. Styrene is the most commonly used plastic for this method and can be easily glued by solvent-type liquid cements like Testors, Tamiya or the old Monoglue, Revell “S” Cement or Pactra. Injection molding is expensive due to the tooling costs of creating a mold. Before a manufacture cuts the mold, they must be sure that the subject matter is desirable and the mold will have many years of production life before demand dies out. Injection molding is limited not only by cost but the size of the molding press.

Vacuform:

Vacuform models fill a critical gap in the modeling world. Before resin, it stood as the main alternate production method. Vacuform kits can be made in a garage and do not have the same size limitations as injection molding. For example, the 1/72 C-5A Galaxy is simply too large for any profitable injection molding machine, but is ideally suited for vac. The manufacture creates a master and mounts it on a board with holes. Plastic sheet is heated and drawn over the mold with a vacuum pump. Some vac kits comes with metal and/or resin details like landing gear struts, wheels, machine guns, engines and even cockpits. Some vacuform kits from manufactures such as Esoteric and Dynavector are of higher quality than most injection molded kits. Regardless of this, most vac kits are much more difficult than an injection molded kit. Significant modeling and scratch building skills are needed to build vac kits.

High Definition Resin Castings:

Resin is now the primary alternative production method. Two-part resin is poured into rubber molds that are made from masters. This can be done in a very small space with little or no specialized equipment. The master limits the detail, but resin is capable of higher detail levels than injection molding. Cyanoacrylate type glues are needed to build resin kits. The cost of the mold rubber and resin have increased greatly in the past decade, making this kits more expensive to produce.

Wooden Kits:

These include classic kits in hardwood and balsa, such as the old Strombecker, Maircraft, Comet and Monogram Speedee-Bilt models. Some include completely preformed hardwood parts and were the premium models in their day. Others include a box with several blocks of wood and some instructions that seem to have one and only one step, "Make Wood Look Like Airplane or Ship". Plank-on-Frame ship models are constructed with a keel and bulkheads (like and actual ship) and are planked with paneling and/or stripwood.

Stick and Tissue:

The golden age of these famous flying models dates from the 1920s till injection molding took over in the mid 1950s. Wings, fuselage and the like are built with wooden spars, ribs and bulkheads via supplied plans. This framework is covered with lightweight tissue. These kits were often intended (and did) fly on rubber power and later on gas power. The kits are very light weight and some are very large with wingspans several feet long. There is still a national free-flight and regional indoor/outdoor competitions where these aircraft can fly on rubber power for 20 to 30+ minutes in no-wind conditions.


New or Old Designations:

"Old" or "New" tags are applied to each kit or accessory. This is an age and production grouping. Like any groupings, it has its compromises.

Old
Kits are either/or:

New
Kits are either:


Please use this as a general guide only. The circumstances of this hobby create many errors in this grouping. One example is Aurora. They are certainly out of business and all Aurora kits are "Old". The original molds were acquired by Monogram in the 1970s and many kits were reissued. Monogram as an independent company does not exist so these Monogram reissues are "Old". But recently old Aurora molds were re-released by Playing Mantis (Polar Lights) and these kits were "New" for a while. I hear they are now out of production, so they will become "Old". Additionally, all Monogram kits when Monogram was an independent company are "Old". Kits issued in the Monogram name by Monogram's new owners in Europe under Revell/Monogram are "New". Old Monogram kits are being re-issued under "Revell" as they are owned by the same company, so now they are "New". Many of these are from the same molds used in the 1950s! If that is not enough, small-scale kit manufacturers are going in and out of business monthly.





© 2005 - Alan Bussie
Lawton Paul Design

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